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Comment: Corrections to the article (Score 1) 292

by mstrcat (#45988189) Attached to: Thousands of Gas Leaks Discovered Under Streets of Washington DC
The article was pretty light on the actual science behind the leak detection, and what it implies. Here's a few facts to help you understand more. 5,000+ 'leaks': This is actually 5000+ areas where the concentration of methane is above some pre-determined number. The instruments used measure into parts-per-billion range, and they also classify every high reading as a leak. While this is likely true in the majority of cases, they seem to neglect things like anaerobic decomposition in sewers, drains and other such places. 'Explosion': Combustion of methane in an unenclosed space has a flame propagation speed that is sub-sonic. Enclosed spaces change the physics of the produced pressure wave and can explode. As methane is lighter than air, this is actually quite difficult to achieve naturally. Propane and higher hydrocarbons are heavier than air and tend to collection in low areas. '10 times the thresh hold for explosion': See above. Methane's lower flammability limit is 5% (in air), and the upper bond is 25%. This concentration would have been too rich to be flammable (5% x 10 = 50%). However at that concentration, the atmosphere in the space is approximately 10% oxygen and you would suffocate.

Comment: Breach of chattel and miss use of public property? (Score 1, Insightful) 346

How is the FBI agent not guilty of the following? 1) Breach of chattel -> spy ware program on laptop belonging to the public 2) Wire tap violations -> electronically monitoring communications of another citizen 3) Unlawful access to computer services/devices to which he had no legal right to. 4) Vandalism of public property 5) Wire fraud I don't care what the guy found, he broke the law doing it. Not only should any information collected be tossed out, he needs to be prosecuted. Further more, I'm really sick of hearing judges weasel out of upholding my 4th amendment rights. I'm almost as angry with the spineless judge as I am at the FBI guy for his role in this.He needs to do about a year in prison.

Comment: Judge and jury? (Score 4, Insightful) 140

by mstrcat (#41717407) Attached to: Visa and MasterCard Take Fight To Scammers
I'm not at all comfortable with credit card companies making unilateral and largely black-box decisions like this. While it's true that having a Visa account is not a right, I'm expect them to provide services without making such decisions for me. I feel as if I have more to worry from Visa than I have from the people they claim are selling shady goods.

Comment: Re:Ok, let's see you died in the wool capitalists (Score 2) 154

by mstrcat (#41064427) Attached to: OnLive Acquires OnLive
I'm not sure if I can defend it, but it actually happens quite frequently to start-ups that burn through investment monies before they become profitable. Essentially a group of people invest money...we'll say A-D in this case.. At some time after investment, company X is still not profitable and have spent all the invested capital and none of the investors want to put new money in. If no one is interested in the business, it just dies. All the workers get fired, any debts get settled in court, and all the investors loose 100% of their investment. In many cases however, one or more of the investors will say, "I'll buy the company for Y dollars, assume the debts, hire some of the staff, ect.". Sometimes Y is very low, so all the remaining investors get nearly completely wiped out, all the stock is worthless. I think of it like a poker game where everyone else folded. Surprisingly the staff at the new company isn't typically all that upset about loosing their stock options. They've known for a while their company wasn't making any money and the options were worthless anyway.

Comment: Re:Why? This: (Score 0) 536

by mstrcat (#41041159) Attached to: The Panic Over Fukushima
If by 'heatmap' you mean the map that shows 1st year expected radiation exposure in REM? There is nothing wrong with that graphic. I has clearly labeled units and values. I don't find anything scary at all about it, nor is it misleading in any respect.

The rest of the article does gets a little wishy-washy talking about the 'Denver Dose' and other concepts that are nothing besides poorly supported theories, and even goes to complain that the current best model of the dangers of radiation doesn't fit with his own hopes and wishes. Nevertheless the graphic ATMAvator complains of doesn't have the faults he attributes to it.

Comment: Biogas not well suited for Bloom Boxes (Score 3, Informative) 68

by mstrcat (#39857347) Attached to: Apple's North Carolina Data Center Will Feature Biogas Generators

First of all, enjoy a good chuckle at the term 'Biogas'. Most literature refers to it as 'Landfill gas' and the majority of landfill locations think of it as a waste product to be disposed of as cheaply as possible, mostly through flaring operations. The term 'Biogas' was invented by someone that that wanted to game California's renewable energy programs.

As a fuel, it's marginal, having about 500 BTU per standard cubic foot of gas. Most sources are 10% nitrogen, 40% CO2, 45% methane and the balance oxygen, H2S, water, ethane, ect. The energy cost to clean the gas up to the point where something as high tech as a Bloom Box can use it can reach 60% of the energy of the entire gas stream, as water and CO2 removal are both energy expensive operations.

Still, with all it's disadvantages, I hope Apple is able to make the system work reliably, if only because it's a hard engineering problem they are tackling. And it will be a good proof-of-practicality for the Bloom Boxes.

Comment: Cost of Google vs Siri (Score 1) 366

by mstrcat (#39802329) Attached to: Is Siri Smarter Than Google?
Cost for me to type a google query: minimal, but for the sake of argument, we'll say I bought a new Kindle Fire from Amazon for $200

Minimum cost for me to ask Siri the same thing: $1900.

So I'm thinking I can put up with typing my questions into google for the difference.

So yeah, feel free to laugh at the people yelling at Siri through their iphone.

Comment: Tanith Lee: Tales from The Flat Earth (Score 1) 1244

by mstrcat (#39269941) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?
This is some of Tanith Lee's early work, published in 5 novels from 5 novels from 1978 to 1987. These are some of the best works of fantasy I've ever read.

My second nomination would be the fairie tale collections by Terry Windling and Ellen Datlow. Starting with 'Snow White, Blood Red' and continuing through 'Black Heart, Ivory Bones', those two brought the grim back to fairie tales (and the delight too) that we miss in some of the Disney-ized versions.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ is a great resource for looking up bibliographies and writing order of many of the more well known fantasy and sci-fi authors.

Comment: I jumped ship. (Score 1) 722

by mstrcat (#36766002) Attached to: Netflix Deflects Rage Over Price Increase
So I'm one of those netflix subscribers that jumped ship. I felt the price increase was more than the service was worth. Netflix picked a very bad time to increase prices, and in particular picked a very very poor way to do it. They could have hiked prices slowly over time, and it would have likely not been enough to really re-evaluate the value I get from them. To raise prices 27% at once was too much to swallow. And worst of all was their assumption that I should automatically be subcribed to their new plans. Good bye, netflix. It was nice knowing you.

Comment: Re:Wow.... you must love lawyers (Score 1) 861

by mstrcat (#32385764) Attached to: <em>The Hurt Locker</em> Producers Sue First 5,000 File-Sharers
Mordok,

The idea that these are 'fair lawsuits' that you and the previous poster put forth is nonsense. The article says they are looking for statutory damages. The absolute minimum is $750. Statutory damages are decided by the jury, not by the lawyers; and I know of no jury that has awarded less than $10,000. The same group has put for letters for Far Cry, extorting (via threat of law suit) $1500. Which means we are already at 200x actual damages.

Then we come to the enormous trail of evidence that has to be looked at:

A computer G in the hands of someone with lots of money to be made says address X is downloading file y.

Address X is transmitted to corporation C.

Corporation C says that address belongs to subscriber S.

Subscriber S could be the only person at the keyboard.

That entire trail has to be absolutely perfect. Every program that handled the 'evidence' can be proven never ever to make a mistake, Corporation C must know perfectly that their records are pristine and that no unauthorized persons have access, and that there is absolutely no possibility of any sort of error. There can't be any possibility that anyone could have used S's computer without her knowledge. But most importantly, the person that stands to gain many $10,000s can be trusted never to just add a few extra addresses in there. Hey, if you're going to sue 5,000 people, you might as well just toss in a few hundred more random addresses just for the fun of it and push your profit a little more. It's not like anyone is really caring how the big law firms and movie studios and distribution houses are abusing people here.

From my view point, lawyers and big content have decided that copyright infringement is a new profit center. There is no down side, all you do is grab a few random IP address, send a few thousand demand letters. The ISPs do all the leg work for you for free, and you pick one unlucky loser to actually sue so that the rest of the people that get your extortion letters are scared to tell you 'no'.

The only way to fix this mess is to remove the statutory damages; to limit damages to 10x actual damages or 50x profits made from distribution.

Comment: Eminent Domain for ideas? (Score 1) 247

by mstrcat (#32331586) Attached to: Nero Files Antitrust Complaint Against MPEG-LA
So I'm pretty much convinced that the US patent system is completely borked as far as its 'promote the arts and sciences', at least in the realm of software and business methods. These patents easily lend themselves to patent abuse and Apple, HP, MPEG-LA are some of the worst of bunch. And even if we get some decent patent reform, previously filed patents are still going to cause head-aches for a couple of decades. Perhaps the solution is similar to Eminent Domain, only in this case things like the MPEG-LA patent pools are forcibly bought up for a few million dollars and pushed into the public domain. Once the patents are pushed into the public domain, MPEG-LA can use their expertise to develop the new generation of video codecs, instead of claiming 'no one can develop any compressed video software without a license from us.

Comment: Re:Electric motors (Score 2, Insightful) 609

by mstrcat (#32220400) Attached to: Inventor Demonstrates Infinitely Variable Transmission
Another type of engine that really likes to run at a constant speed are gas engines (primarily methane or propane). This sort of equipment would be a huge benefit to the natural gas industry as it would allow variable speed compression while the driving engine runs at a constant speed. Currently you have to put a generator and a variable speed electrical drive in between the driver motor and the compressor.

Comment: Admendmen is about spending, nothing else (Score 2, Interesting) 152

by mstrcat (#32219958) Attached to: Senators Demand NASA Continue Spending On Ares

So I almost lost my breakfast over this one. The amendment doesn't say word one about getting anything useful, only that the spending continue. The legislators in question don't seem to care if the money spent returns anything worthwhile, only that we keep spending. Barf! No wonder everyone hates politicians.

I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth. -- Neil Armstrong

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